The Colombian department of Santander is known for Barichara, the most beautiful village in Colombia, and for rafting and paragliding from San Gil. But Santander has much more to offer. For example, you can do fantastic hiking in and around Barichara. For example, you will find one of the most famous hikes in Colombia here, which is the hike from Barichara to the small village of Guane via the Camino Real. As far as I’m concerned, a must-do when visiting Barichara. In this article I tell you all about this hike and you’ll read practical tips.
El Camino Real: a beautiful walk along a historic trail
At the very northern end of calle 4 in Barichara, the start of the spectacular hike down into the valley. Indicated by a large stone on which Camino Real is inscribed.
Since 1988, this trail has been a national monument, once built by the indigenous tribes of Guane. Despite being rebuilt several times over the centuries, the path remains beautiful and authentic with the large boulders marking the walk.
From Barichara you hike only downhill, through beautiful meadows with unusual trees, past cacti and white cows. Bird lovers will have a great time here.
I have now walked the route from Barichara to Guane twice and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Guane: the perfect end of the hike
If you are looking for a small colonial village in Colombia, then Guane is perfect for you. Indeed, it is no bigger than a few blocks.
But despite its size, Guane is truly pleasing to the eye. The colonial houses, the beautiful 1720s church and the typical Colombian streetscape will hold your attention.
According to the information at the beginning of the trail, at least 100 people walk this hike every day, but I don’t believe that. We didn’t encounter more than 4 other tourists and in Guane we were stared at as if they don’t often see foreigners. So this hike also offers a bit of respite from the touristy San Gil and Barichara. Highly recommended!
The spectacular view in Guane
Besides being a beautiful colonial village, Guane also offers spectacular views. The viewpoint is called Mirador del Cañon de Suárez and can be found on the other side of Guane. So you have to walk through the whole village to get there, but the village is so small that you can get there in a few minutes.
Also from this restaurant you have a beautiful view.
Practical information: the hike to Guane from Barichara
Where does the hike start in Barichara?
The start of the hike to Guane is clearly marked in Barichara with a large stone. You can find the start here on the map.
Are you staying in Finca San Vicente? Then you can also start the hike to Guane from there.
How long is the walk?
The hike is about 6 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours. It can also be faster if you keep a nice pace. In particular, you walk downhill. Do you also walk back to Barichara? Then be sure to count 3 hours or more for the hike, as you will only be walking uphill in the heat.
How to get back from Guane to Barichara?
You can hike back by the same route. This is a lot tougher, because, of course, you’ll be walking uphill. I took the bus back to Barichara from Guane both times. The bus goes about once an hour.
What time do you start?
Early in the morning it gets hot. Therefore, it is better to start as early as possible. Around 9 a.m., for example. The later you start the warmer it will be. If you only do the route to Guane on foot it is quite doable, even in the heat. Do you also want to hike back to Barichara? The this then preferably early in the morning or in the afternoon.
The trail is fairly easy to walk, except that you spend 2 hours walking mostly on large boulders. That makes the trip a little more challenging. One of the two times I walked the Camino Real I went with my parents who were in their 60s. We walked slowly, but it was manageable.
Are you mobility impaired? If so, this hike is not recommended. Also, you will possibly suffer from your knees, because you are mainly walking downhill.
What do you take with you on the hike?
Early in the morning it starts to get hot, so use a lot of sunscreen and bring plenty of water. Along the way, there is almost no opportunity to buy drinks. There is also little shade, so putting on a cap or hat is a good idea.
It is also wise and easy to put on good walking shoes, especially if it rains.
In Guane you can buy food and drinks and find a few restaurants.
Hike the entire Camino Real
To do in Barichara: walk the Camino Real to the picturesque mini village of Guane. Have fun!